Cheltenham Races, Friday March 13th, the final day of the Festival, Cheltenham Gold Cup day
Previews by Will Reilly
1:30pm, JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) of £125,000 2m179yds
3 winning favs in the last 5 years; Ireland has won 4 of the last 6; 6 of last 10 winners were returned at 13/2 or shorter, although a 20/1 chance won last year (Pentland Hills), and a 33/1 chance in 2012; Nicky Henderson has won 3 of last 10, Gordon Elliott, 2 of the last 6
The strongest form this year has, it would seem, come from Solo, Goshen and Allmankind from Britain and Aspire Tower from Ireland
2:10pm, Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) of £100,000 2m 179yds
Ireland has won six of the last ten; Willie Mullins has won four of the last ten; Harry Skelton has won the last two and 3 of the last 4; 6 of the last 11 winners have been 20/1 or bigger; only one winner in the last 10 has been returned at less than 10/1; there has been no winning-fav in the last 10 years; 6 of the last 10 winners carried 10st12lb or less, and the other 4 carried 11st1lb or more (Arctic Fire carried 11st12lb when winning in 2017); Paul Townend has won 2 of the last 5.
Willie Mullins’ Ciel de Neige’s run at Newbury in the Betfair Hurdle was very solid and he’s rated just one pound higher now; Dan Skelton’s Mohaayed won this race (rated 139) in 2018 and won a handicap when rated 145 later that year; he’s now rated 142 on his first run since a wind op. Trained by Nicky Henderson, last season’s Triumph Hurdle seventh Adjali will be running for the first time since a wind op. Willie Mullins’ Aramon’s half-brother Aramax won on Wednesday’s Festival card.
2:50pm, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) of £125,000 2m7f213yds
The last six winners have been priced at 50/1, 33/1, 16/1, 11/1, 14/1 and 33/1, with Ireland winning four of them. Ireland has won 6 of the last 11 ‘Albert Bartletts’; just 2 winning favs in the last 10 years; it’s a tough race for a novice; the age of the last 10 winners – 5 6yos, 3 7yos, one 5yo (Very Wood, 2014, Paul Carberry)
Ramses de Teillee (David Pipe) has thrived since a wind op and looks tough – a good quality for this race; remarkably, he finished second in the 2018 Welsh Grand National; Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition, of course, is also tough; Cobbler’s Way was beaten fairly comfortably by Latest Exhibition last time, but is not without his supporters. Willie Mullins runs three, including Janidil, who won a €100,000 two-mile handicap at Fairyhouse in December. Stable jockey Paul Townend rides Monkfish.
3:30pm, Bulmers/Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) of £625,000 3m2f70yds
Ireland has won three of the last four and four of the last six; three winning favs in the last 10; only 2 of the last 10 winners have been returned at bigger than 8/1 – Al Boum Photo (12/1, last year) and Lord Windermere (40/1, 2014). Al Boum Photo is back to defend his crown. Lostintranslation will be running for the first time since a wind op. Presenting Percy has already won at two Cheltenham Festivals. Delta Work will be looking to become the second Grade 1 BarOneRacing.com Drinmore Novice Chase winner to win the Gold Cup in the last five renewals following the success of Don Cossack in 2016.
4:10pm, St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup of £45,000 3m2f110yds
Enda Bolger has won two of the last five; he runs the seven-year-old Staker Wallace, with Jamie Codd booked to ride; Hazel Hill won last year as the 7/2 fav and is back again, although no 12yo has won this in the last 10 years; only three 12yos have won since 1975 (Earthmover won aged 13 in 2004); Ireland has won 3 of the last 9, but not since On The Fringe in 2016; 7 of the last 10 winners were 15/2 or shorter – the others were 25/1, 16/1 and 33/1; three of the last 7 favs have won
4:50pm, Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3 Handicap) of £110,000 2m62yds
Nicky Henderson loves to win this race, which is named in honour of his father, although he hasn’t won it since 2012; Paul Nicholls has won 2 of last 4; Ireland has won 3 of the last 7; there has been just one winning fav in the last 10 – Alderwood (3/1, 2013); 7 of the last 10 winners have been returned at 16/1 or bigger, including Croco Bay last year at 66/1 (he won when rated 139 and is now 144 but ran well at Doncaster last time in a light campaign so far)
Paul Nicholls’ Greaneteen has done nothing wrong over fences; he is set to carry 11st7lb; 5 of the last 6 winners have carried 11st or more to victory, although only one 6yo has won in the last 10 years
Great Field will be some sight over these fences if a switch to Jonjo O’Neill proves beneficial; Dan Skelton’s Adrrastos is admirably consistent and may not have finished improving yet; Ireland has won 3 of the last 7 (and 3 of the last 10)
5:30pm, Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hcap Hurdle of £70,000 2m4f56yds
The Festival finale, named after one the sport’s great trainers; no winning favourite since Sir des Champs in 2011- but none of the last 6 winners has been returned at bigger than 14/1; Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 3; Willie Mullins has won two of last 6 and 3 of the last 9; Paul Nicholls has won 2 of last 7; conditional jockeys based in Ireland have won 4 of the last 5; market movers have been Gordon Elliott’s Column Of Fire and Gavin Cromwell’s Ilikedwayurthinking
2:10pm – Goshen: He seems to have been a little bit underrated; his win at Ascot last time came despite the going, not because of it
2:10pm – Ciel De Neige: In a fiercely competitive contest, he can go well; his handicap form is solid
2:50pm – Ramses De Teillee: He is tough and will stay, which are good attributes for this race
3:30pm – Delta Work: Boasts Grade 1-winning form and the Fairyhouse BarOneRacing.com Winter Festival form has been showing up particularly well this week at the Festival
4:10pm – My two against the field: Billaway and Staker Wallace; the former is unexposed and Willie Mullins has been talking well of him, while Jamie Codd was booked for Enda Bolger‘s Staker Wallace a long time ago
4:50pm – Greaneteen: Whatever he does today, he looks to have a good future, barring injury
5:30pm – My two against the field: Column Of Fire and Ilikedwayurthinking, who both look to have been primed for this